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September 20, 2004

ESPN Column

Not Done?
Texas swept Oakland in dramatic fashion and sits a mere two games out of first with ten to play. For fantasy owners, even those who dislike the Rangers, this is wonderful news. With postseason play still a possibility, Texas will play the regulars, so owners of Ranger hitters needn’t worry about seeing Manny Alexander and his ilk in the lineup.

Soriano Still Out, Probably For Good

News on ALFONSO SORIANO is mixed. Some sources state matter-of-factly that he’s toast, others hold out a faint hope. I suggest you go ahead and drop him. Perhaps, just perhaps, he’ll get a handful of at-bats, but his hamstring pull clearly will diminish his abilities. You’re better off finding a player who might actually help you.

Last Minute Help or Hurt
ERIC YOUNG will start for Soriano the rest of the way. He doesn’t run much anymore or hit for power; his three-run shot on Wednesday was his first of the season. Young does offer a .300 average and will score some runs if that’s what you’re lacking. KEVIN MENCH has tapered off slightly of late, perhaps because of a sore hand, but he does play every day and might go yard a couple of times before the season is done. BRIAN JORDAN is playing every game and batting .300 in September, but Mench is a better choice. Jordan doesn’t hit for power anymore and won’t score or drive in enough runs to help a mixed-league team. Likewise, catcher ROD BARAJAS is enjoying a solid September but has a poor track record. Avoid him in mixed leagues.

Among pitchers, CHRIS YOUNG rejuvenated his tired arm and has pitched reasonably well (4.50 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 19 Ks in 26 innings). He’s awfully green and a huge risk that should be taken by only the neediest in AL-only leagues. The same applies to CHAN HO PARK, who pitched well on a short leash on Thursday. JOAQUIN BENOIT made an emergency start last week and may start again Friday; he’s nothing but trouble. RYAN DRESE may start on three days rest at some point; that may cut into his pitch count but otherwise shouldn’t cause much alarm. Texas believes that his sinker has a bit more sink when he’s tired. He’s not exciting but is preferable to more widely owned KENNY ROGERS.

All Rangers, All The Time
In case you were wondering about the Ranger 40-man roster, depth charts from the Majors down to A ball, and transactions, I have them. Visit www.scottlucas.com/texas/index.htm for all that and a compendium of all my ESPN columns, just in case you were dying to know what I thought about Herbert Perry in 2002. I will be transferring those files to a new subdomain (say, rangers.scottlucas.com or something similar) in October. I also write occasionally for battersbox.ca, a site run by devoted to (but not fixated on) the Toronto Blue Jays. Current A’s correspondent John Gizzi, former ESPN correspondents Kent Williams and Mick Doherty, and a host of other fine writers will keep you entertained over the cold winter.

Barring last-minute updates, this column should be my last of the season. I also will update this column on occasion during the winter, if only for my own amusement. I sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed reading my columns and have gotten some use from them. Thanks to ESPN fantasy chief Eric Karabell for giving me the gig back in February 2002. Thanks most of all to Courtney Bissonnet, who has endured her third year of being the girlfriend of a Ranger fan, and who will up the ante considerably by becoming the wife of a Ranger fan next month.

Posted by Lucas at September 20, 2004 08:31 PM